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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Safety Officer Training at Summit

Rotor & Wing 2010 Safety and Training Summit panel examines what it takes to be an effective safety officer.

By Andrew Parker, managing editor

Rotor & Wing columnist Keith Cianfrani moderated a panel June 9 at the 2010 Safety and Training Summit in Denver that featured The Squadron Inc. co-founder Dan Deutermann, Air Methods corporate safety manager Michael Koenes and Matt Wallace, safety director for Air Life Georgia. “To be a effective safety officer, you have to have a good command climate,” Cianfrani told attendees of the Rotor & Wing-hosted event. “Whether it’s the civilian or military world, you have to have that boss, that commander, that CEO or president of the company behind you. He has to give you the authority to make changes and get things done.”

Deutermann, Lt. Cdr. for the U.S. Coast Guard, says that the goal is operational success while minimizing costs and injuries. “You’ve got to encourage people to look at you as the nice guy, and tell you what happened when they have little errors, and even big errors,” he said. “Get them to explain the events, and document it. The only way you’re going to get trends out of that stuff is if you document it.”

Michael Koenes, corporate safety manager for Air Methods, encouraged safety officers to schedule meetings at a definitive time, such as the second Tuesday of every month, for a recurring meeting. “The important part—and this is where the communication skills come in—you need to conduct follow-ups with all of your folks to ensure that they understand the programs that you’re talking about, and educate yourself on safety-related topics. There’s nothing wrong with re-calibrating on safety topics and company goals before you go out there and convey that message to employees.” Matt Wallace, safety director for Air Life Georgia, noted that the safety officer’s dedication and training “has to come through, to make sure that your operation not only is safe, but you have to follow along and so many other things come into play. Profitability, accomplishing the mission, other factors are all important, but the big thing is you’re the manager of making sure that safety is integrated into everything.”

Follow link for the full version of this story. For videos from the Summit, go to the Safety & Training Channel.

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